Looking for a job: Your wants versus needs

Susan Ricker, CareerBuilder Writer

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When you're job searching, it can sometimes seem like you're in a dysfunctional relationship. It's always about what the companies want and what you're willing to compromise to make them happy. Consider this your intervention: You're in this relationship, too, and it's time to start asking for what you want.

When evaluating a position, decide what's on your list of requirements and what items are preferred, but not necessary. This will help you get what you want and increase your chances for long-term career happiness and success.

Career path
Are you moving closer to your dream job? When looking for a job, consider what direction you want to take your career. Doing so can help you narrow down which jobs to consider. Ask yourself: Is this relevant to my educational background, does this get me a step further in my career, or can it open up new doors for me? Is having a career important, or am I looking for a job strictly to pay the bills?

Dress code
Is your inner fashionista a factor in the job you're seeking? Dress code can have more of an impact on career satisfaction than you may think. Does the position you're looking for require you to wear a uniform? Will you be expected to wear a suit most of the time? How much of your salary are you willing to spend on work clothes? Consider what you'd prefer to wear, and look for companies that are compatible with your style.

Education
Some companies offer tuition reimbursement and other educational opportunities to their employees, including access to seminars, workshops and certifications. Research the companies that interest you, and find out what they offer. While you'll typically find more opportunities at larger companies, organizations of any size may provide some degree of training.

Insurance and benefits
Are you on somebody else's insurance plan, or are you looking for a job with health benefits? Determine which type of insurance you'd prefer and which benefits may not be as important to you. This will help you figure out what questions to ask hiring managers when discussing benefits.

Location
Are you willing to relocate for a great job? Is commuting an option for you? Or are you more interested in staying local? Being more flexible may give you more opportunities in your job search. Also, consider if working from home is an option. Is it realistic, and do you have the self-discipline to work independently?

Salary
Do you have a certain income that you need to make to pay the bills? How flexible are your salary requirements? Although salary negotiations don't usually happen until after you receive a job offer, keep in mind what kind of budget you have and what your paycheck needs to be.

Travel
Are you looking for a job in which you can travel? Consider how much you'd be willing to travel for a job. Some positions require driving long distances or flying, while others only require working at one location.

Wellness opportunities
Wellness opportunities such as paid gym memberships or bicycles are increasingly being offered to employees to encourage healthy lifestyles and keep insurance costs low. Are you interested in better managing your well-being? Determine whether the companies you're researching offer wellness opportunities to their employees.

After you decide what you want out of your job, you'll have a clearer picture of what positions you should be seeking and which companies offer the most relevant benefits. The key to any good relationship is being honest about what you want and working to get it.

Susan Ricker is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.



Last Updated: 16/11/2012 - 11:46 AM


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